It is during gastrulation that the primordial germ layers are specified, embryonic axes become morphologically manifest, and the embryonic body plan begins to take shape. As morphogenetic movements push and pull nascent tissues into position within the gastrula, new interactions are established between neighboring cells and tissues. These interactions represent an emergent property within gastrulating embryos, and serve to regulate and promote ensuing morphogenesis that establishes the next set of cell/tissue contacts, and so on. Several recent studies demonstrate the critical roles of such interactions during gastrulation, including those between germ layers, along embryonic axes, and at tissue boundaries. Emergent tissue interactions result from – and result in – morphogen signaling, cell contacts, and mechanical forces within the gastrula. Together, these comprise a dynamic and complex regulatory cascade that drives gastrulation morphogenesis.